Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christmas stress creeping in...

I said it here, I'm going to keep it simple this Christmas....well, surprise, surprise, I'm beginning to get anxious. Change is hard. I'm trying to write it out instead of eat it out. So here I am. Letting go of the perfectionism is hard. In two days it will be December and I have not accomplished nearly the equivalent of what I had done this time last year. The doubts, the anxiety are creeping in. I think I have become a much more relaxed person in general, or at least compared to what I had been before, because I didn't mean to get to this point of ill preparation. Yet here I am Nov. 29th and the cupboards are bare. The yoga, the therapy, they are chilling me out...perhaps too much...and now the anxiety is kicking in. Deep Breath in, slow exhale out. Repeat. Make list. I think a list will help. I have 3 weeks until the kids are all mine again. Things must be accomplished over the next three weeks. No indecision, straight decision, no regret. I only wish I knew what to get the kids or George who has absolutely no hobbies. He works and then he spends his time with us. I will ask him to make a list. Three weeks is going to fly by so quickly.

Deep breath in, exhale out, repeat. Make list.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving...

Yesterday was Thanksgiving. It is a good time to remember what one is thankful for. It is the season. I think that I have written about everything that I'm thankful for before in this blog. Maybe not. Everyday I am grateful for my husband, my children, my family, my friends, my home, my church. I'm thankfuI I didn't get married until I was 27. At the time, several of my close friends were already married and I felt left behind yet I'm grateful that it took time. My children came after a very difficult struggle, so I have appreciated them and their health long before they came into being. I am also grateful for good therapy! I have learned much about myself and family dynamics and in turn makes life much easier to live!!

I'm thankful for books, oh so grateful for books and a thirst for knowledge!! In books and the Internet I was able to find most of the answers for my eldest daughter about pilgrims and Christmas tradition history. I am thankful for the pilgrims who came over in 1620. I am descended from these Separatists who came over from England (really Holland by the the time they left) to get away from the King for religious freedom. Well, technically, I was from the group called "Strangers" (how appropriate) and they were included in the voyage to help pay the bills. One died the first winter yet had a son, and one was a troublemaker. Edward Fuller and Edward Doty are those to whom I am descended from on my mother's side. Mr. Doty was the one in Plymouth court...repeatedly...there are records of his misadventures. I am thinking that my great Aunt Maydelle who researched all of this probably thought that was quite amusing. She did all of the geneology research in the family and I am thankful to her for that now in a more profound way.

Yesterday, I sat with my mom and Riley as we pored through information from Aunt Maydelle, the Internet, and children's Thanksgiving books that my mom had given the girls a few years back. Riley had lots of questions about the Mayflower and the Pilgrims. We discovered given names, such as Patience, Remember, Fear, Wrestling, Desire and Love! (I was very infatuated with the family name Membrance some years back... glad we had girls!)

As a family, we sat and watched a History channel show on the origins of Thanksgiving. Riley was transfixed, Mallory needed Legos but she is four. I am so glad to have these moments of togetherness and for Riley's questions which led to our exploration.

I am thankful that the rebel rouser and the one who died the first winter, came over. I can't imagine making that type of journey or living under those types of conditions. There were only five women left to cook the first Thanksgiving meal out of the 200 people who came over. Five!!!! Sixty plus days on a cramped, stinky boat, people dying from the "Great Sickness", the New England winter, fighting with the Native Americans, and oh yeah, there was no food. We are so privileged. We are excitedly planning a trip to Plymouth next Fall.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I want to be present for Christmas

It is the third week in November and Christmas is right around the corner. And I want to make changes this Christmas. Not just talk about it like I have done before but actually do it and because it is the third week in November, I'm going to HAVE to. I am starting to get anxious about what all has to be done before Christmas and this is the year I am going to have to let it go. Christmas is crazy, but I make it crazier. As the head decorator, school and office party attender, buyer of presents for family, friends, teachers, speech therapist, and anyone who comes in contact in a meaningful way with my children, it can be overwhelming. One can go crazy with the holidays and this IS the year that I will scale back.

I am not going to be able to do it ALL at this point. And by all, I mean in a perfectionistic way. Gift cards will have to suffice. I will not spend eons of time thinking of the perfect gift to give. Presents are nice to receive but my focus this year will be looking someone in the eye, or writing a sincere word to someone who means something to my life or my kids' lives and letting them know how I appreciate them.

We have taken family pictures and Christmas cards have been ordered and that is one of my favorite things to do. I will work on a Christmas letter which I enjoy writing. (could you guess??) I want to enjoy decorating the tree and putting up stockings with my children with our favorite Christmas tunes blaring. I want to enjoy putting up our outside decorations as a family. We have added additional lighted
yard decorations every year (not quite the Griswolds yet!) but the girls love them and I in turn love to watch their eyes light up. Having a child in your life at Christmas is so fantastic. We can read the bible story of Jesus' birth and put up our Nativity sets and leave the wise men far away to represent the actual 2 years that it took for them to get to the scene. I heard a radio program talk about this particular subject of cutting back and it mentioned that kids love stories and making activities revolving around stories are ideal to make Christmas meaningful for children. (and adults!) I have a tradition of buying Christmas ornaments from the places we have vacationed or visited and as we put them on the tree, we talk about those special times. It's not about the presents...

In the past, each of these tasks is on a huge mental list and after each one is accomplished there is a check mark and a sigh of relief. One more thing out of the way. And in the past gift giving is frenzied and anxiety provoking. I have very few ideas of what to give the children this year, they have a lot. They still want more but I know what they REALLY want and need is hands on time spent with their family, George and I being present with them and playing. They will only be little for a short time span and Riley is becoming a young lady in front of our eyes.

I have signed up for a six session advent study on Wednesday mornings at our church which sounds ludicrous to the old me of perfectionism and of little time but I am going to embrace this study and it's meaning. I am going to have to let go as time is running out. I know it is not going to be easy. I am going to have anxiety at certain times and I will have to breathe through it. And I'm going to get off the computer now and make a grand list because the list will help me get a grip and keep it simple and then I will be able to be present. It can be done and NOW is the time to start the transition to a simpler Christmas.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Respect the Streak

I like to post one blog per week and I have not accomplished that this last week. I have many ideas but haven't had time to flesh them out. My lap top's video card is dying so we are drinking the kool aid and getting an Apple laptop. Evidently, those who have them, swear by them, up and down. But I haven't been able to use my laptop in my comfortable places to write, so no blog yet. I just can't skip a week of a blog, I've been on a roll. And as Crash Davis would say in Bull Durham, one of my favorite movies of all time, you have to respect a streak. Except I looked it up and the line was don't F*%$ with a streak so I will not include that scene. The movie is R rated...but I so love it. There are so many great lines in the movie. And Kevin Costner was just the bomb. Here is a bit that does mention the streak. I apologize for the bad lighting.

Friday, November 6, 2009

An Empire State of Mind

I heard about this video of Jay Z and Alicia Keys singing at the 2nd game of the World Series, was intrigued, found it, watched it and couldn't get it out of my mind. I am not a rap or hip hop listener but I am loving this song, most especially the part where Alicia comes in. I guess I'm channeling my inna gangsta. My head just starts bobbing.
I know they are talking more about about New York City in the song, but I did reside in the Empire State for four years and that was the first time I did get to go to NYC. I have been twice and am ready to go back.

They are speaking of dreams coming true, and I now realize that you have to have a dream in order for it to come true!!! I have been held back by me, limiting myself. I can't wait to take the girls when they are a little older to NYC, so many things to see and do. George's relatives came through Ellis Island.

"These streets will make you feel brand new"...I'm singing the song and Mallory, of course, tells me to stop singing. So I give her the instructions she needs to get ready for school but I'm singing in the same melody of the song. She still tells me to stop singing "that way." She walks off and I hear her sing, "makes you feel brand new..." Priceless.

I like the video because it's fun to watch the Yankee players bobbing their heads to the beat.
Tell me if you enjoy it at all. It's probably just me. And of course, I saw a little bit of Jay Z's story on Oprah, of him overcoming the streets to become the mogul that he is today. And congrats to the Yankees, although, I was pulling for the Phillies...the underdog.